Historically speaking, the Masons conceive three buildings as dwelling places of the Most High and as historic Lodges, which reflect the Masonic "System of Morality," viz., the Tabernacle, K.S.T., and the Second Temple. "The First Lodge" mentioned in the Explanation of the First T.B. is simply "the First Temple at Jerusalem," as the Craftsman has it in the Explanation of the Second T.B. We are told that "there were but three Grand Masters who bore sway at the building" of it.
But we must not be misled by taking this  statement about "the first Lodge" I as an absolute fact. It was "the first . . . at Jerusalem"; and it was "the first" attempt made to give form in stone to the pattern which those three Grand Masters claimed to have obtained from the G.A.O.T.U.
On the other hand, the R.A. Companions declare, and with good reason, that the Temple erected with stone at Jerusalem was " the Second, or Sacred Lodge." They say this because the place of convocation reared at the foot of another Mount (where the historic pattern was seen by our G.M. Moses) is regarded as " the First," and this one is also called "the Holy" Lodge, the ground it occupied being rendered holy by the structure. In both "Lodges," the Tabernacle and K.S.T., our Ancient Brethren saw a reproduction of the Pattern which had been exhibited to our G.M. Moses, that is, the counterpart of something in the heavens, something in the "celestial canopy," something which in turn was emblematic of a higher Reality.
Eventually the third attempt to reproduce that Pattern was to be made by erecting the Grand or Royal Lodge of which we still have the main outline in the V. of the S.L.
 It was part of the Secret Tradition that K.S.T. had not been built in strict accordance with the plans handed down from the days of Moses. The Kabbalists said that it was because the original pattern had not been strictly followed that it was destroyed. The cause of this failure on the part of the Builders is not explained; it is only the Freemasons who know it. The plans and designs were lost, and so an imperfect Temple was erected, which was reduced to ruins to teach the world that nothing imperfect can endure. The loss of those plans and designs was due to the untimely death of our M., H.A.; after his sudden and mysterious disappearance they were no longer forthcoming, and hence something else had to be substituted for them. Some hundreds of years after they were found again, and then another attempt was made to reproduce them.
But from these ruins, still extant, we may learn that every Temple reared by the hand of man (our own Freemason's Lodge included) are at the best imperfect adumbrations of the ideal one.
Our thoughts are illustrated by similes which seem misleading, but so far as we are concerned  they have proved beneficial; they can only deceive the cowan. In the Ceremonies we appear as so many Builders, and we actually speak of work done; but in thus expressing ourselves we are idealising, for "the intended structure" is not to be erected on ground marked out with the skirret. Much as we admire the skilful Architects who have filled the world with noble piles, we claim to do better. Our aim is beautifully stated in the words used in a certain Degree: "Most Puissant Sovereign, for want of territory we build them in our hearts."
That this form of speech is not a newfangled thing, but has come down to us from very ancient times, may be seen by the old brass which some Masons fixed in 1513 on a bridge built by them near Limerick, for it had the following inscription: -
"Strive to Live with Love and Care
Upon the Level by the Square."
The use of Masonic phraseology at that date
is enough to give a shock to some destructive critics of the present
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